Underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the weekend paired emerging screenwriters with established directors, producers and screenwriters for one-on-one mentoring sessions.
Since its inception, over fifty screenplays have taken part in the HIFF Screenwriters’ Lab. Writers of the selected screenplays spend the weekend sharing their projects with established mentors—screenwriters, directors and producers—who advise them on both script development and the production process. Throughout the weekend, the participants also connect with members of the local artistic community, HIFF board members, and friends of the Festival.
“The Screenwriters’ Lab is central to our mission as an organization, as it mixes a diverse range of talent from the industry with a new wave of artists that are sure to shape the landscape in the future,” says HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent. “Developing artists is at the heart of so much of what the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation does, and this support is crucial in today’s film world,” continues HIFF Executive Director Anne Chaisson.
The writers of four screenplays were invited to participate this year:
Christina Choe: Nancy
— a serial imposter’s ongoing lies have tragic consequences
— based on the novel by Timothy Schaffert, in which two emotionally wounded sisters seek to unravel the central mystery of their lives
— examines the subtle forces at play in our urban lives
— an inspirational drama about genius, deceit and the controversial birth of the most influential invention of our time
“We are delighted to partner with HIFF and its highly selective Screenwriters’ Lab in supporting two more exciting filmmakers who have found original ways to integrate science and technology into their work,” said Doron Weber, Vice President, Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “We fully expect that Televisionaries and Palimpsest—one about the most public medium ever invented, starring iconic heroes and villains vying to change the world, and the other about the most private, interior spaces featuring offbeat individuals seeking human connection—will join over ten theatrically released feature films that have come out of this nationwide effort in the past three years.”
The 2014 mentors include the following:
— a Professor of Professional Practice and the former Chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program
— who has a long and distinguished career as a screen and television (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) writer
— screenwriter (The Wrestler), director, and former editor-in-chief of The Onion
— producer of such films as High Art and Laurel Canyon
Four recent projects from the Lab have gone on to be produced: Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12, which won both the Audience and Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival; Justin Schwartz’s The Discoverers, which had its world premiere at HIFF and continues to play at Festivals around the world; Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; and Claudia Myers’s film Fort Bliss, which is currently in post-production.
The selected screenwriters return to the Hamptons in October, connecting with important industry contacts and the public. In addition, HIFF 2014 will showcase selected scene readings (from these screenplays) by established actors.